(Part 2 of 2)
To Ross and the board of directors of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, this is not the 19th century and the African-American community in Indianapolis does not need another “image” in downtown Indianapolis to remind us of how downtrodden, beat down, hapless, and submissive we once may have been. We don’t need any more images of lawn jockeys, caricatures … no more buffoonery, no more shuckin’ and jiven’, and no more ape-ish looking monuments.
And to both Wilson and Ross, I will give you a few ideas of some African-Americans who we would like to see prominently displayed in downtown Indianapolis, who would make us proud, who would motivate us, who would empower us, who would inspire us, who represents “contemporary society,” who would “represent the African-American community as a whole” and who actually made a positive contribution to our fine state of Indiana.
Major Taylor has a velodrome named after him, but not a monument. Buffalo Solider Morton Finney, who was also a well respected educator, has a building named after him, but no monument. Tuskegee Airman Walter Plamer would be a good choice or anyone from the 28th Infantry could be added to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The African-American community would even like to see a monument of business owners John Freeman or Madam C.J. Walker prominently displayed.
In conclusion, whose culture is this image along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail attempting to represent, the oppressor or the oppressed? Monuments in general are created and designed to leave a lasting positive image of a great historical figure … one that we all could be proud of. Think of the Lincoln Memorial, think of the Washington Monument, or even think of the Michael Jordan statue outside of the United Center. Each are there to symbolize greatness, strength and pride, while the newly commissioned E Pluribus Unum passes on another negative image from one generation to the next, to help further supplant the notion that even with a African-American in the White House, we still have a long way to go.
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